Statehouse

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

As Democrats and Republicans gear up for next year’s election, the parties rallied in Springfield this week with events timed to the Illinois State Fair.

Illinois Congressman Darin LaHood addresses the party faithful at the Illinois Republican Party's annual State Fair rally on Aug. 15, 2019.
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Illinois Republican Party’s top brass says it’s optimistic about its chances in 2020. Officials rallied the base Thursday at the Illinois State Fair.

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi headlined the Illinois Democratic County Chairs' Association brunch Wednesday in Springfield.
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi rallied with Illinois Democrats Wednesday in Springfield.

Jerry Nowicki / Capitol News Illinois, used with permission

State Treasurer Mike Frerichs is among the first Illinois officials to endorse a candidate in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, and he's backing Elizabeth Warren.


State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

President Donald Trump once again dangles the possibility of a commutation for impeached and imprisoned ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich. 

Rod and Patti Blagojevich
WBEZ / Flickr

President Donald Trump says he is “very strongly considering” commuting the prison sentence of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

In the wake of last weekend’s shootings in Texas and Ohio, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is calling for a ban on large-capacity magazines.

Illinois Senate

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has signed a law intended to prevent discrimination against living organ donors. It will apply to employers and insurance companies.

Megan Craig said she made the best decision of her life at age 25. That’s when she donated a kidney to 20-month-old Evan Simms. Eight years later, Simms is alive and well and resides in South Wilmington. And Craig works at the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago announced Friday that state Sen. Tom Cullerton was under indictment for embezzeling from a local branch of the Teamsters union. He’s accused of collecting more than $274,000 in pay and benefits for “little or no work.” Cullerton denies the charges.

Lindsay Fox https://ecigarettereviewed.com/ / via Flickr CC BY 2.0

At least three young people in Illinois have been sent to the hospital in recent months after having used e-cigarettes, also known as “vapes.” That’s according to an investigation by the state’s Department of Public Health.


Tom Irwin Music

Artists of all kinds often struggle to find inspiration for their work, but sometimes it strikes in unexpected ways. For singer/songwriter and columnist Tom Irwin, inspiration came from a diary he found. It was written more than 125 years ago by a young man who lived in the same Pleasant Plains farmhouse that’s been in his family for generations.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Ahead of the start of the Illinois State Fair next week, organizers say they’re optimistic about attendance and attractions. But the fair’s success is an open question.


Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

Illinois state government is getting a slightly better assessment from one of the major credit rating agencies.

Women Employed / Women Employed

Illinois job seekers will no longer have to disclose their previous salary. Wednesday Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law a measure prohibiting employers from asking.

handout / Illinois Office of Communication and Information

People with criminal records could soon have better luck getting jobs in health care.

Ruin Raider / via Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

In the wake of an increase in roadside injuries and deaths among Illinois state troopers, Governor J.B. Pritzker has approved harsher penalties for those who break what’s known as Scott’s Law.


Country Financial

A law recently signed by Governor J.B Pritzker requires that all single-use public restroom signs make no reference to gender. But one brew pub owner has a problem with the signage he’ll have to replace in his establishment. 

At Buzz Bomb Brewing Company in Springfield, one set of restrooms has stick figure silhouette signage - - one with in a skirt, the other without.

Marco Verch / Flickr (BY-CC 2.0)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday signed into law a debt collection reform package.

The measure calls for lowering interest rates on outstanding consumer debt from 9 percent to 5 percent. It would also trim about a decade off the time a lender can pursue collection.

The legislation would apply to consumer debt under $25,000 for things such as car loans or medical bills. That’s for debts that have had a court judgment.

Jaclyn Driscoll

An unprecedented number of Illinois State Police troopers have been injured or killed this year at the hands of drivers who don’t move over when directed to. That’s prompted state and federal lawmakers to get tougher and more changes could be coming.


Office of state Rep. Lamont Robinson Jr.

The rates of HIV infection in Illinois are decreasing among adults, but are climbing among people ages 13 to 24, especially youth of color. So, advocates want to encourage young people to use a preventative medication.

Chicago Democratic Representative Lamont Robinson Jr. sponsored legislation that would give people as young as 12 years old access to the HIV prevention drug called PREP — without requiring permission from a parent or guardian. The once-a-day pill can effectively prevent the disease if taken properly.

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

This week, two separate political social media posts provoked heavy criticism, a campaign volunteer for Republican U.S. Representative Rodney Davis was caught posing as a newspaper reporter, and Governor J.B. Pritzker received high marks from Governing Magazine.

Bernie Schoenburg of the Springfield State Journal-Register and Chris Mooney, Political Science Professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago join the panel.

Mike Mozart / Flickr (BY-CC 2.0)

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed legislation that will allow some Supplement Nutrion Assistance Program (SNAP) - formerly known as food stamps - recipients to use benefits at restaurants.

The program will be offered to people who are elderly, homeless or have a disability. 

State Week logo (capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Republicans are lining up to try to reclaim the seats won by freshmen U.S. Reps. Sean Casten and Lauren Underwood, there are fights over a suburban business emitting a cancer-causing chemical, the feds are inching up on the speaker, and more.

via salvilaw.com

Illinois reached an agreement this week with a suburban Chicago cleaning facility that was releasing toxins into the air at unsafe levels. But attorneys representing residents who live near the plant aren’t happy with it.

Birds N Brooks Army Navy Surplus features an M16/AR-15 rifle atop its sign
Google Maps

A group of gun dealers is suing the state of Illinois to block new regulations on their businesses.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. J.B. Pritzker canceled an upcoming performance by the band Confederate Railroad at the DuQuoin State Fair. 

satellite image of Stateville Correctional Center in Joliet, Illinois, cut into puzzle pieces with a few missing
Photo: Apple Maps / Illustration: Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

After decades of growth, the number of men and women in the Illinois prison system has declined sharply in the last several years. A complex blend of decisions is behind the drop — ranging from the highest reaches of power in the General Assembly down to individual police on the beat.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

Illinois farmers now have until July 15 to officially say they won’t be planting crops this year. A key deadline has been extended for claiming some types of crop insurance.

It's been one of the wettest springs in state history. Just last month alone, Illinois averaged more than five inches of rainfall, a whole inch above normal. It’s been so wet for so much of the planting season, farmers across the state haven’t had much of a chance to get their crops in the ground.

State Week logo
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot wants Illinois to help Chicago with its ballooning pension payments, which are squeezing other priorities in the state budget.

decades of budget books line the shelves in the LEgislative Reference Bureau's library in the Illinois state Capitol
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

When lawmakers made performance-based budgeting the law in Illinois, they promised it would transform the way the state spends money. But after years of failing to invest in the program, backers say Illinois is finally getting serious about Budgeting for Results.

Pages